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Private Sector Growth Spurs Rise in Construction Spending
The mild temperatures through the onset of winter contributed to a rise in December construction spending, fueled by the increasing strength of the housing market. The November spending figures were also revised upward, showing slight growth instead of the decline reported last month.

Sandy Slows November Home Builds

New home construction struggled in the Northeast following Superstorm Sandy's impact in November; housing starts dipped following October's four-year high. Starts and building permits are both near 2008 levels, better than the lows reached the following year, but far from healthy.

Cement, Construction Forecasts Up Through 2013 & Beyond

The Portland Cement Association expects the accelerated cement consumption predicted during 2013 to continue into the following years, with an 8.3 percent increase in 2014, and annual growth as high as 9.2 percent through 2017. (Cement consumption is dictated by the level of construction activity and by the prevailing cement use.) While 2017 cement use levels remain well below pre-recession averages, and upside risks remain, these risks have been significantly reduced.

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''Solar Park'' Is Just One Green Element of Volkswagen Chattanooga

The Volkswagen Chattanooga "solar park" contains 33,600 solar modules (JA Solar) designed to produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to the energy consumed annually by about 1,200 homes in the area. The electricity produced will meet 12.5 percent of the plant's energy needs at full production. U.S.-based Phoenix Solar designed and built the solar array. The plant employs about 3,200 people to manufacture the Passat sedan.

France on Board for Dark Skies

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) says it is "the only nonprofit organization fighting to preserve the night." Its efforts have definitely made people worldwide more aware of lighting pollution (Washington, D.C. light pollution pictured), and has influenced specifers to choose shielded fixtures for outdoor lighting. A new light pollution law goes into effect this summer in France.

Trends in Playground Surfacing

About three-quarters of the injuries that occur on public playgrounds involve falls, primarily to the surface below the equipment. The most effective way to reduce such accidents is with correctly installed and well-maintained playground surfacing. Manufacturers and designers of playground equipment and play surfacing are working hard to incorporate the latest trends and techniques that will improve outdoor play experiences for children.

Texas In Second-Worst Drought Ever

Texas continues to suffer a serious rainfall deficit and is on track to experience the second-worst drought on record. John Nielsen-Gammon told the House and Senate Natural Resources Committees that most of the state is still in extreme drought, and the forecast tilts toward drier-than-normal conditions through the spring. For some parts of the state, the current drought may end up being the worst ever recorded.

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RH Petertson
Light up indoor and outdoor rooms with Real Fyre's new G21 Burner. Polished Stainless ...
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Rosetta Hardscapes
Dimensional XL step offers a large, chiseled stone look for dramatic stairways ...
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SGM, Inc.
One-Step Spray Deck - Simply add water and spray over new or existing concrete surfaces ...

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Shade Systems
Introducing the Tornado(TM), the latest stunning shade innovation from our ...
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The industry leading manufacturer of modular sports surfacing and outdoor ...
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Solus Decor Inc.
This 48" Elevated Halo consumesnatural gas or liquid propane. It's weather hardy ...

Drought Back In South Florida

After a warmer than usual January, Palm Beach County enters February, normally its driest month of the year, creeping back to drought conditions.

Minnesota Outlooks Indicate Moisture, But Drought Isn't Over Yet
Although much of Minnesota is still in severe to extreme drought, University of Minnesota Extension climatologist Mark Seeley says the outlook shows a different story for late winter all the way into planting season.

Drought-Tolerant Groundcover Gaining Popularity

With drought a continuing problem around much of the country, forward-looking landscape contractors are selecting alternatives to water-hungry ground covers, and are turning to low-water versions such as minima jasmine. According to Pat Rey, owner of the Green Thumb Nursery in Florida, "(minima jasmine) doesn't have a problem with fungus, it takes sun, shade. It's dark green. It doesn't go into dormancy like the peanut plant does."

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Building Stronger Communities with Community-Built Playgrounds

On September 8, 2012, an estimated 100 volunteers, including 40 teenagers, showed up at Lucas Park in downtown St. Louis, unexpectedly asking how they could help. They hauled wheelbarrows, shoveled dirt, and assembled equipment, constructing a beautiful new playground in less than 12 hours.

Reservoir Street Residence, Cambridge, Mass.

The purpose of this project was the design and implementation of a landscape and garden surrounding a single-family home on Reservoir Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

On the Bluebonnet Trail - Ennis, Texas

Tiered native Oklahoma stonewalls frame the chain of lakes. An 8 ft. wide weir spills into a holding basin, then into an intermediate linear lake, and finally passes through underground pipes to connect to the lower lake, which has an aerating water feature.

Park City's Hillside Head-Turner

Nearly two years of work from concept to completion expanded this Utah mountainside residence with a variety of hardscaped outdoor rooms, fire features, a spa and improved views of the surrounding scenery. Equally spaced stone columns with custom designed hood lights were placed down the drive to tie the architecture into the landscape, and large boulders were placed with a crane to provide a natural feel.

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Sternberg Lighting
The 1230LED Prairie Series luminaire is a large scale fixture with LED light ...
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Stokes Ladders
Any climb, any place. An innovator in climbing products for landscape maintenance ...
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Willow Creek's new durable and beautiful Slatestone pavers feature a natural slate ...

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Vista Professional Outdoor Lighting
Introducing LED versions of its popular 4260 Series of ...
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WestBlock Systems
StoneWall(R) II, multi-piece ashlar SRW, is used in retaining wall and hardscape ...
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Wood Stone Home
The Mt. Adams 5' oven is our largest Mountain Home oven. It features a standard door ...

St. Ignatius High School Mall Renovation

Over two summers, the common area bisecting Cleveland, Ohio's St. Ignatius High School was overhauled with expansive new brick and concrete walkways, mounded lawns and a variety of new plantings. The project included sustainable solutions like permeable paving and reusing historic roadway bricks, and correcting safety and maintenance issues. A semicircular 18" brick seat wall with sandstone cap matches the historic brick architecture, and is partially shaded by a mature oak. Backless, armless benches are arranged in the atrium for other seating options.

Louisiana Colonial Backyard Makeover

The homeowners of this center-hall colonial residence in Covington, Louisiana, worked with a landscape designer and a local hardscapes firm to add a new patio and outdoor kitchen to their plain backyard in only four days.

Old Town Chicago

2012's Most Popular U.S. Neighborhoods
According to, based on the most-searched areas by zip codes on their site, the top five (''hottest'') neighborhoods in the U.S. are . . .

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Migration To The City

With a larger percentage of the population moving into urban centers, there is increasing opportunity for landscape contractors to update their business offerings. While people like the city, they also want the landscape of the suburbs. Green walls, green roofs, and compact patches of green space all are niche opportunities awaiting the forward-looking contractor.

The Sobering Tale of Mozambique's Grande Hotel

Mozambique's Art Deco inspired Grande Hotel opened in Beira in 1954, billing itself as the "pride of Africa." What's that biblical quote about pride? Ah yes: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall," according to the King James Bible.

Power of 3D Design for Custom
Residential Projects

An entire project can be designed, presented to a client and constructed with build-ready plans using 3D programs, such as those available from Structure Studios, VizTerra, Nemetschek, Vectorworks Designer or Land F/X. These programs allow designers the freedom to quickly adapt a design to response to a homeowner's questions or concerns, even in the midst of a presentation. Specialty pavers, retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and grills can be interchanged effortlessly.

Double-Duty for Infrastructure
Landscape Infrastructure: Case Studies by SWA is a new book that illustrates ways infrastructure can serve double duty for underused spaces like drainage canals, electricity transmission corridors, remnant spaces around freeways, on- and off-ramps and alleyways.

Increased Productivity Through Software

With increased competition for a smaller client pool, hardscape and landscape contractors are levering design software to present ever-more exciting and visual proposals to their clients. Topline design software packages can deliver photo realistic renderings and even 3D images that provide the clients with a clearer picture of what the final project will look like. Clients respond to this. Also, making your business run more efficiently helps to keep profit margins up and maintain competitive bidding. Below are several software options for the forward-looking landscape contractors to consider when it comes to design and/or business efficiency.

Toro Introduces Thinwall Dripline

New Toro product range is now available for subsurface drip irrigation.

WOC Awards ''Crews That Rock''

World of Concrete is the only annual international event dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries. The show includes indoor and outdoor exhibits, demonstrations, competitions, and an education program.

Ameristar Acquires Prefab Booth Manufacturer
With the purchase of Parking Booth Co., Ameristar plans to quickly move into a leadership position in the booth and building structures business.

Tranquil D?cor Self Contained Cracked Vase
EasyPro Pond Products Tranquil D?cor fountains are made with an alternative concrete material that is fiber reinforced for strength. This provides the appearance and durability of traditional concrete products without the weight or the price.

G-Lux LED Landscape Lighting for Easy Installation

The G-Lux series lights can be installed, expanded or integrated quickly into existing systems through a variety of accessories. These accessories allow the fixture to be placed virtually anywhere to meet accent lighting needs above or under water.

The Digital Issues are Available
The February issue of LASN is available online!
To view the complete issue click here.
To view the table of contents click here.

Find the Products

To view the LASN marketplace follow these links:
- Landscape Lighting
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The February issuse of LC/DBM is available online!
To view the complete issue click here.
To view the table of contents click here.

Find the Products
To view the LC/DBM marketplace follow these links:
- Landscape Lighting
- Irrigation
- Outdoor Living
- Site Amenities
- Equipment
- Plant Materials & Accessories

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Click here to view LASN's Specifier's Guide

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Last Updated 12/06/2012

Last Updated 02/19/2013

1 John 5:1
''Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and . . .''
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